Tag: Silhouette Desires

Retro Review: Craving Beauty by Nalini Singh

Posted May 3, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro Review: Craving Beauty by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Craving Beauty by Nalini Singh
Series: Zulheina #2
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: July 1st 2005
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 184
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-half-stars

Marc was dangerous to her in the way that only a strong, sexy male could be to a woman. Even knowing that, she'd agreed to marry him.

Hope blossomed in Hira's heart. Perhaps she'd married a man with whom it might be worth building a life. Her mother had worried that he was scarred, but the lines on his face did nothing to lessen his raw masculine appeal. If anything, they gave him an even more dangerous male air, enticing the feminine core of her to thoughts that shocked her.

What did a man's face matter anyway? She had no use for handsome men.

But for a man with a heart? For such a man...she might risk everything.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on October 5, 2007.

Harlequins are one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I love how I can pick up a book that is less than 200 pages long and be completely immersed in the story almost immediately.

Though I’m a huge Nalini Singh fan, this is only the 2nd series romance I’ve read by her. This book makes me want to run out and hunt down the rest of her OOP Silhouettes.

When Marc went to Zulheil on business, he never expected to return home w/ a foreign bride. From the first moment he laid eyes on Hira, he was captivated not only by her flawless beauty, but also her smile. When given a choice between being married and having her as his own or not having her at all, Marc did not hesitate.

Hira was used to being looked at as nothing more than a pretty face. When she first saw Marc, she hoped that he was different and would see her as the intelligent and capable woman that she was. Unfortunately that was not to be and Hira soon found herself married to Marc and leaving the only home she’d ever known.

It sounds like a simple enough plot, no? In a way, it was. There was no BIG MISUNDERSTANDING in this book. Both Hira and Marc agreed to the marriage for reasons that were not at first clear to them. Marc soon learns that his wife is far from the icy beauty he first assumed her to be. However, having been burned once by a beautiful woman, Marc has no desire to repeat the experience. Under Marc’s loving care (doesn’t that sound all Harlequin-ey?), Hira realizes that not all men are controlling tyrants like her father. Given freedom to pursue her own desires, Hira finds herself falling in love with her husband more as each day passes.

As in every romance novel, there is conflict between the characters. These are two very strong willed people who have been hurt in the past. Marc by a woman and Hira by watching how her father treated her mother. This is a classic story of the Beast trying to tame his Beauty, soon learning that taming is the last thing he wants of his wife. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that can find it.

4.5 out of 5.

four-half-stars

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Guest Review: Forgotten Vows by Modean Moon

Posted August 3, 2015 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Forgotten Vows by Modean Moon
Jen’s review of Forgotten Vows (The Carltons #1) by Modean Moon.

A RUNAWAY BRIDE?

Jennifer couldn’t remember the man she’d married only months ago, or the circumstances that had separated them on their wedding night. Edward Carlton claimed they were legally wed, but her amnesia had caused the man she’d once vowed to love to become a stranger.

Edward thought that Jennie had abandoned him, but once she was in his arms she knew she would never have left willingly. And as a web of deceit tightened around her, Jennie realized that learning the truth about her past could be very dangerous indeed.

THE WEDDING NIGHT: The excitement began when they said, “I do.”

I’ll spare you the boring details of how I ended up with a gin-u-wine paper copy of this 1996 Silhouette Desire title, but I was planning to just read a couple pages to check it out, and next thing I knew the book was over. It’s got all the 90s you could want: an amnesiac Mary Sue heroine, a moody, emotionally wounded hero, a kind and fatherly vicar, and more “gauzy dresses” than the wardrobe department for a Summer’s Eve commercial. I ate it all up.

Fair warning, I plan to discuss some spoilers because, well, this book is almost 20 years old so I figure spoilers are kind of a moot point after 2 decades. Plus, it’s more fun for me this way!

Jennie is a mysterious young woman who showed up severely injured in the town of Avalon, New Mexico. She nearly died from her injuries, but though she’s miraculously recovering, she was left with no memory of who she is or how she came to Avalon. In an effort to discover her identity, the local vicar takes out an ad in a newspaper, which is why the wealthy Edward William Renberg Carlton IV (catchy name!) has arrived to see Jennie for himself. It turns out, he is….her husband! (cue dramatic music: ba ba BAAA!) She ran off with money and some jewelry right after their wedding, and he’s come to do…something. Exact revenge? Tell her off? He’s not quite sure, but he is compelled to see her. He learns that she was seriously injured and cannot remember anything, and he also learns that she is….blind! (ba ba BAAA!) And this is especially tragic because it turns out she made her living….as an painter! (ba ba BAAA!) The local townspeople, including the sheriff, have grown exceedingly fond of “their Jennie” and don’t know whether Edward was somehow involved in her injuries, but Edward wants to stick around and Jennie seems to feel comfortable with him, so they all set about trying to figure out what is really going on. Could Jennie really have left Edward in such a cruel way? If not, what could have made Jennie leave? Could she still be in danger? (Hint: Yes. Yes she could.)

I think the reason I enjoyed this book so much is because it is EXACTLY the kind of book that made me start loving romance in the first place. Jennie’s picture is undoubtedly in the Trope Dictionary next to the term “Mary Sue.” She is so unfailingly, unconsciously, unironically perfect that it makes your teeth hurt, but in a good way. She picks up on Edward’s moods and proclivities instantly. She is always patient and lovely, even when things around her are going to hell. She’s constantly described as “brave” and “innocent.” Everyone loves her, to the point that the whole town camps outside her hospital just to wait for word on her condition when she’s injured near the end. I’m saying this lady is SWEET. I loved her because she was so over the top. Disliking Jennie would be like disliking a super cute puppy.

Jennie may be sweet, but she ain’t deep. Sure, there’s a little angst over a lousy childhood where no one wanted her, blah blah, but really she’s just there to contribute to Edward’s story arc. Both of them have some serious self confidence issues and think no one could ever love them, but Edward’s feelings are more central to the plot, and explored in a bit more depth. (Tragic parental death alert, as if there was any other kind for a romance hero.) His previous perception of Jennie was that she could never have left him like she did, but yet he’s unable and unwilling to question the evidence that makes him believe she did it because deep down, he thinks he deserved it. Even after it’s obvious something more sinister is going on (she was dumped in the wilderness near death and wearing her wedding night lingerie! does that suggest a woman who ran away?), Edward still drags his feet on believing Jennie. Thankfully it doesn’t go on until the end–he does come to see the light, and his belief in Jennie is what allows him to react quickly at the end when she’s in danger again. While he was kind of a dick in his thoughts, I still liked him because at least he was kind and thoughtful to Jennie when he was with her. It was touching to see them come together despite themselves. You got the sense that they really were the right match–they just had to rediscover that fact.

I know, you’re now full of anxiety over Jennie’s blindness and wondering how she and Edward can negotiate the challenges and how she can regain a career since she can’t paint. Well, it’s all A-OK in Romanceland because Jennie gets injured again near the end and now miraculously…she can see again! (ba ba BAAAAAA!) No, this book does not have a particularly nuanced portrayal of disability.

Obviously this book is a bit ridiculous, but as I said above this is the kind of romance I grew up reading. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee 13 year old Jen would have adored this one. The heroine is a paragon of womanhood, the man is kind but broody, and the sex is open door but tame enough not to have scared me. (Oh, I almost forgot to mention that as I was writing this review I realized there’s a sequel, Overnight Heiress, focusing on Edward’s long lost sister. I’m in!) I don’t want to read this kind of book every day, but it sure is fun once in a while.

Grade: I’ll give this one a 4 out of 5 on my personal scale, but really that’s not very meaningful for anyone else. If you like gently-angsty 90s romance and can scrounge up a copy (it’s not available digitally), try this one. If not, move along!

This title is available from Silhouette Desire. You can purchase it here.

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Review: Have Baby, Need Billionaire by Maureen Child

Posted January 27, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Holly‘s review of Have Baby, Need Billionaire by Maureen Child.

He’d certainly never set eyes on—much less gone to bed with—Tula Barrons. That he would have remembered. Yet businessman Simon Bradley agreed to let Tula and her infant cousin—a child she claimed was his—stay in his mansion until he had proof of the little boy’s paternity.

But having Tula under his roof revealed something unexpected—her father had once nearly destroyed Simon’s business. The billionaire now had the perfect opportunity for revenge. He could seduce Tula and take away the baby she loved…but if he succeeded, he could lose all he’d come to care for.

I’ve been reading Maureen Child for years. I buy based on her name alone. Unfortunately her more recent releases haven’t been on par with what I’ve come to expect from her.

I started this novel and set it aside after 34 pages. I don’t generally quit a book so early on, but the actions of the heroine convinced me not to continue.

Tula Barrons has been named guardian of her nephew upon the death of her cousin. In her will, the cousin said she wants her son to go to his father, billionaire Simon Bradley, whom she hasn’t told about the baby. She left Tula in charge of approving him as caretaker.

The problem is that Tula has daddy issues. Her father is a very rich man who has always made his disappointment in Tula very clear. She’s chosen to make her own way in the world. Which is commendable, except she carries a major prejudice for men who wear suits (ie, rich men). She goes to Simon’s office to tell him about his son and to offer him a chance to discuss the terms of her cousin’s will. The first meeting goes fairly well, all things considered. Tula babbles like a moron at first, but once she explains the situation and invites Simon over, she calms down. Simon, naturally, doesn’t take the news well. He hasn’t seen Tula’s cousin in over a year and, in fact, barely remembers her. To hear he has a child..well, he’s shocked. And somewhat disbelieving. He agrees to meet with Tula that evening and shoos her out of his office. I can’t say I blamed him.

This is where the novel went downhill. Tula goes home and calls her best friend, to tell her how the meeting went. While on the phone she makes a few comments that bothered me, in regards to Simon, but it’s once she gets off the phone that I became truly annoyed. She assures the baby that she won’t let mean old Suit Simon suck all the joy and creativity from his world. This bothered me because she doesn’t know Simon. She meets him once, under less than ideal circumstances, then jumps to conclusions about the type of person he is.

Then it goes from bad to worse. Simon shows up and Tula continues to insult and harangue him. When he’s obviously shocked and angry over not knowing about his son, she tells him to suck it up. She gets angry with him for handling the baby gently and decides that’s proof that he isn’t fit to care for the baby. Then she jumps to the conclusion that he’s insulting her work as a children’s author because he made the mistake of asking what she did for a living. Since her father doesn’t approve, she assumes Simon is being condescending about it also. WTF?

I decided at that point I couldn’t read anymore. Maybe Tula is reformed in the end. Maybe Simon really is the jerk she assumes he is. But the automatic assumptions on her part made me angry enough that I don’t care to find out.

DNF (though what I read gets a 1 out of 5)

This book is available from Silhouette Desire. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Reviews up at TGTBTU

Posted November 8, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Reviews up at TGTBTUReviewer: Holly
The Daddy Audition by Cindi Myers
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: July 1st 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General, Contemporary
Pages: 224
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-stars

Tanya Bledso couldn't wait to leave Crested Butte to chase dreams of Hollywood stardom. Now the single mom has returned to run the local theater and raise her daughter. But the peaceful, charming town she took for granted has exploded into a bustling tourist attraction, thanks to one man.
Jack Crenshaw. Property developer extraordinaire…and her former high school sweetheart.
Ten years hasn't cooled the heat between them. Worse, Jack is bonding with her daughter and giving her the crazy idea he'd make the perfect family man. But is he ready to forgive and forget the heartbreak of the past for the role he seems born to play?

I have three reviews up at The Good, The Bad and The Unread.

The Daddy Audition by Cindi Myers

Tanya Bledso couldn’t wait to leave Crested Butte to chase dreams of Hollywood stardom. Now the single mom has returned to run the local theater and raise her daughter. But the peaceful, charming town she took for granted has exploded into a bustling tourist attraction, thanks to one man.Jack Crenshaw. Property developer extraordinaire…and her former high school sweetheart.

Ten years hasn’t cooled the heat between them. Worse, Jack is bonding with her daughter and giving her the crazy idea he’d make the perfect family man. But is he ready to forgive and forget the heartbreak of the past for the role he seems born to play?

 

I enjoyed the basic premise of this story: heroine leaves to pursue her dreams and leaves high school sweetheart behind. Now she’s back and so is their attraction.

I liked both characters up until a certain point, but then the way they refused to talk to each other and their personal insecurities started to annoy me. I understood Tanya’s reasons for leaving, just as I understood Jack’s for letting her. But as the story progressed, I became frustrated with both of them.

 

3.5 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin American Romance. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Book CoverTaming the Texas Tycoon by Katherine Garbera

For Texas Cattleman’s Club member Lance Brody, marriage is about gaining the right connections. But one plain-Jane personal assistant is about to change his mind…For years Kate Thornton had dreamed of becoming Mrs. Lance Brody. Then her boss became engaged strictly for business and Kate had had enough. Giving her two weeks’ notice should have released her, but Lance’s eyes had finally been opened. Kate couldn’t be allowed to walk away from the business, or him. And if it meant taking her to bed to keep her…well, that was one job he would gladly do himself!

I liked this story on a superficial level. If I start examining the motives or actions of the main characters I have major issues. As a fluff story – something quick to pass the time – it was good, but there were a lot of flaws.

My main gripe is the heroine’s complete lack of identity away from the hero. Also, the fact that the hero was engaged to someone else for the entire length of the novel really turned me off, even though the circumstances were explained well enough.

2.5 out of 5

This book is available from Silhouette Desire. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Book CoverTexas Wedding by Kathleen O’Brien

The days of Susannah Everly dreaming about white dresses, churches and Trent Maxwell are long gone. So it’s more than a little funny that she finds herself actually married to the guy. But she’s determined to save the family ranch by any means possible, and if Trent is those means…Still, they both know the deal. This is a business arrangement and there are rules. Rules that do not include rekindling those old feelings or surprise midnight seductions. So what’s Susannah to do when Trent seems determined to break their agreement? Especially when what he offers is way too tempting.

I’m still formulating my thoughts about this one. I generally enjoy the reunited lovers plot line, but this couple was bitter and angry.

Susannah especially rubbed me wrong. She was bitter and angry, and her actions throughout didn’t speak well of her. She did her level best to treat Trent like shit, then complained when he didn’t fall all over her. Basically she was a complete and total bitch. This was explained away because of Trent’s actions in the past, but that was 11 years ago. I really felt like there should have been more growth on her part.

2 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin SuperRomance. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

two-stars

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Guest Review: Inherited: One Child by Day Leclaire

Posted September 30, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Inherited: One Child by Day LeclaireInherited: One Child by Day Leclaire
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: July 1st 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General, Contemporary
Pages: 192
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Billionaire businessman Jack Mason had devised the perfect strategy for keeping custody of his orphaned niece. He'd hire the right nanny and seduce her into marrying him. It should prove easy enough. He was, after all, irresistible.
Annalise Stefano was ideal. The attractive new nanny had quickly bonded with the little girl. And Jack was anticipating their wedding night more than he'd imagined. Even so, he couldn't have predicted that Annalise wouldn't want to become his wife. Or that the secret she was keeping could jeopardize his plans for creating the perfect family….

 

I have a review of Inherited: One Child by Day Leclaire up at The Good, The Bad and The Unread

I’m always looking for new authors to try when I browse eHarlequin.com and the blurb for this one caught my eye. I’m glad I picked it up, because it turned out to be a good read. This story is told almost completely from the hero’s point of view. That was kind of refreshing. Too often I think we spend too much time in the heroine’s head speculating about the hero.

This book is available from Silhouette Desire. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars

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